New Jersey Local Helps Win County
January 20, 2010
It’s a rare day when an IBEW local leader can find common cause with representatives of the Associated Builders and Contractors, an anti-union association.
Members and leaders of Trenton, N.J., Local 269 celebrate passing of responsible-contractor measure in Burlington, County. (From left): John Cunningham, Mark McTamney, Mark Waladkewics, Dennis Doyle, Joseph Doyle, Wayne DeAngelo, Gino Pasqualone and Jason Jones.
But—after serving with ABC members on a Burlington County task force considering regulation of contractors—Dennis Doyle, business manager of Trenton, N.J., Local 269,applauded a new responsible-contractor policy unanimously passed by the county’s board of freeholders on January 13. The measure strengthens safety, pay and health care benefits of building trades workers in the county. Says Doyle:
This law will help level the playing field for the building trades. It was five years in the making and only happened because the Mercer/Burlington Building Trades Council helped elect two Democrats who supported working families to the predominantly Republican Burlington County Board of Freeholders.
Introduced by Democratic Freeholder Chris Brown, the new policy requires contractors to provide employees with health and hospital insurance plans and pensions. In addition, all contractors and subcontractors must participate in an approved apprenticeship program. They also are mandated to employ at least one employee on each project who has successfully completed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 30-hour construction safety and health course.
The responsible-contractor policy applies to all public works projects, including new construction, repairs and maintenance and upgrades. Says Doyle:
Task force members didn’t agree on everything, but the [new policy] put local labor back to work on jobs that might have gone to nonunion contractors from out-of-state.
Local 269’s lobbying for responsible-contractor policies builds upon other successful political efforts. Assistant Business Manager Wayne DeAngelo—who also served as president of the Mercer/Burlington Building Trades Council—was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 2008. DeAngelo was a primary sponsor of New Jersey’s Family Leave Law and is a key supporter of green job growth.
Local 269’s success on responsible-contractor policies is becoming more common throughout the Brotherhood. In late October, a similar agreement was reached in Luzerne County, Pa., initiated by Wilkes-Barre Local 163 Business Manager Michael Kwashnik.